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2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

Can Egypt Bounce Back Against Niger?

Egypt to face Niger in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria.

It was a disappointing start for Egypt in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers after they lost 1-0 away to North African rivals Tunisia in June 2017. Taha Yassine Kehnissi scored the only goal to stun the Pharaohs in Rades.

This was followed by their poor performance in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia where they finished bottom of Group A after three successive defeats.

After their final World Cup match in June against Saudi Arabia, the Pharaohs will on Saturday return to the pitch with the hope of recovering from their disappointment when they host Niger at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria.

It will also be a new beginning for newly appointed head coach Javier Aguirre who replaced former coach Hector Cuper after the World Cup campaign. Following his signing of a five-year-deal, Aguirre, a Mexican, recently named a 24-man team, maintaining 12 out of the 23 players that represented the North African nation at the 2018 World Cup.

Despite having some issues with the Egyptian FA, Liverpool forward and national team captain Mohammed Salah was among the 13 foreign-based players invited and will lead the team this weekend.

Other foreign-based players invited include Arsenal midfielder Mohammed El Neny, Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic) and Huddersfield’s Ramadan Sobhy.

Egypt’s next opponents, Niger, are aiming to make their return to the Nations Cup since 2013 and look to be in a good form after recording a 3-3 draw with the Central African Republic, a 2-1 victory over Uganda in an international on June 2, 2018 and a goalless draw against Swaziland in their first group match.

However, the Pharaohs appear to be the favorable side for the weekend clash as they lead the head-to-head record. Both have clashed in three previous matches, as the Pharaohs remain unbeaten, with two wins and a draw to their name. The most recent encounter between the two sides was a friendly in Doha in 2012 which Egypt won 1-0.
In the other Group J match, leaders Tunisia will play away to Swaziland on Sunday at the Mavuso Sports Centre.

Egypt’s Full Squad

Goalkeepers: Mohamed El-Shennawy (Al Ahly), Mahmoud Ginsh (Zamalek), and Mohamed Awad (Ismaily)

Defenders: Ayman Ashraf (Al Ahly), Ahmed Hegazi (West Brom), Ali Gabr (Pyramids), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa), Baher Mohamdy (Ismaily), Amro Tarek (Orlando City) Mohamed Hany (Al Ahly), and Mohamed Hamdy (Pyramids).

Midfielders: Tarek Hamed (Zamalek), Sam Morsy (Wigan), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Ramadan Sobhi (Huddersfield), Mahmoud Trezeguet (Kasimpasa), Amr Warda (PAOK), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Mohamed Sadek (Ismaily), Islam Gaber (Dakhlia), Hussien El Shahat (Al Ain), and Ali Ghazal (Vancouver Whitecaps).

Forwards: Salah Mohsen (Al Ahly), Ahmed Gomaa (Al-Masry), and Hossam Hassan (Smouha), and Ahmed Hassan (Olympiacos Piraeus).

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